As we celebrate our nation’s independence, we’re reminded that freedom is essential for a number of reasons. Social freedoms and personal freedoms alike, the ability to make your own choices and act independently from others can truly impact your overall health and well-being.
Understanding how freedom and good mental health are connected begins with an awareness that freedom is itself a relative concept. It’s not an absolute, and its meaning can be different based on interpretation and circumstances. However, in the conversation around good mental health and its connection to an individual’s freedom, we understand that independence allows individuals to feel more in control of their lives and better equipped to handle challenges that come their way, which leads to feelings of self-sufficiency and overall confidence. These positive feelings can then positively impact an individual’s mental health.
There are many ways to build up your independence, including:
- Setting goals: Setting small, achievable goals can build confidence, give you a sense of control and purpose.
- Trying something new: If there’s something you’ve always wanted to try, whether it be learning a new language, trying out a new sport, traveling to a new destination or even just eating out or seeing a movie solo, you’ll find that experiencing something new will boost your confidence and help you achieve independence.
- Practicing self care: Caring for yourself is an essential part of growth and well-being. Cultivating independence through self-care is a step in the right direction.
- Learning to say no: This can be a tough one for all those people-pleasers; however, it’s a must in your journey to being more independent. Learning to say no is essential to maintaining your own boundaries and promoting independence.
Cultivating independence is essential to your mental health and well-being. However, it must be noted that while being free to choose for yourself and learning to be more independent are critical to your overall health, so, too, is interdependence and connection with others. After all, positive connections with others as well as with yourself will allow you to thrive.